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Largest-Ever Single-Year Decrease in U.S. Death Cancer Rate: Report

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Largest-Ever Single-Year Decrease in U.S. Death Cancer Rate: Report

2020-01-09 17:36:021 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Chanel Adams,  Image source: National Cancer Institute

Cancer death rates are falling. The recent advancements are playing a role in the decline. The death rate from cancer in the U.S. has seen its largest single-year drop between 2016 and 2017 since the death rate started declining in 1992, according to a report from the American Cancer Society. One major reason is because of the latest advancements in the treatments for lung cancer.

According to the report, the decrease in lung cancer deaths incurred an overall drop in cancer death of 2.2% from 2016 to 2017. Lung cancer has become the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. It accounted for 27% of cancer deaths and has more combined deaths than brain, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer has also become the most common cause of death among men aged 40 and older and women aged 60 and older.

Dr. William Cance, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, revealed that the decreased mortality rate from lung cancer and melanoma has everything to do with the advancements in treatment in the past decade. "They are a profound reminder of how rapidly this area of research is expanding, and now leading to real hope for cancer patients," Cance revealed in a press release.

Dr. Patrick Hwu, division head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who was not involved with the report, credits the use of drugs and targeted therapies that eliminated the circuitry that turns on cancer cells. One of the biggest advancements, experts revealed, includes the development of immunotherapies like Keytruda, which is known as a pemrolizumab. This treatment helps the immune system to combat tumors, and has been used for treating both melanoma and lung cancer, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to a CBS report.

Another reason why the cancer death rate has declined is because e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, a recent surge in vaping-related illnesses have caused public health officials to call for a national ban on all vaping products. The American Cancer Society stated that e-cigarettes are "likely to be significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes," but the American Lung Association revealed that "e-cigarettes are not safe."

As reported via The Daily Beast, President Trump is taking credit for the decreased cancer death rates. The president tweeted on Thursday, Jan. 9, "U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration." However, that same report revealed that in 2020, during Trump's fourth year as president, 1.8 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and 600,000 people are expected to die from the disease.

This news also comes after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 7 that she's "cancer free." The 86-year-old made the announcement during an interview with CNN, per a CBS News report. Her doctors first discovered the localized malignant tumor back in July after undergoing a blood test and a biopsy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

"I'm cancer-free," Justice Ginsburg revealed. "That's very good." She plans to resume her regularly active scheduled work. Ginsburg has received cancer treatment for the past 13 months. She undergone surgery to have a tumor removed from her pancreas back in August. Back in December 2018, she had two cancerous nodules removed from her lung.

She's been in treatment for cancer over the past 20 years. She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer back in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009, according to a CBS News report. She's also suffered other health problems in the past few years. Ginsburg fractured three of her ribs after she fell in her office in late 2018. She was recently hospitalized for chills and a fever back in November.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic is localized by 37%. However, most patients don't exhibit the symptoms. The most common symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, lack of appetite, and weight loss. Most of these symptoms don't appear until the cancer has spread to other organs, according to medical experts. The National Cancer Institute also revealed that the survival rate has decreased to 2.9%, reports The New York Times.

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